Utah warns of snow melting and swift river dangers


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The heat wave moving across Utah prompted officials to warn about the danger posed by swift-moving rivers and streams as the snow melt accelerates in the mountains.

With high temperatures forecast in the upper 80s and 90s, the biggest concerns are in northern Utah where mid- and high-level snowpack is filling streams with icy cold water.

National Weather Service hydrologist Brian McInerney expects river flows to top out at an average of about 150 cubic feet per second by Wednesday or Thursday. But water will continue to run at dangerous levels for another two weeks, he said.

“Those water ways are going to be incredibly dangerous,” McInerney told KTVX-TV. “They’re going to run really fast. They’re really cold and every year we have little kids that drown in these rivers and streams.”

Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal said areas like Big and Little Cottonwood canyons are an attractive recreation option in late spring but pose dangers because of the fast-moving creeks.

“People love to go watch the water. It is an amazing thing to see _ even the sheer beauty of how fast it is going,” he told the Deseret News. “But people get close and underestimate the danger that is there. That water will sweep them away very quickly.

“Adults also need to use extreme caution so they don’t lose their balance and fall in.”

Monday’s predicted high of 91 degrees was forecast to back off a bit Tuesday through Thursday into the mid-80s. By the end of the week, a chance of showers enters the picture with highs dropping into the upper 60s.

The weekend heat helped trigger an air pollution alert on Sunday in Weber County for ozone, with air quality regulators advising residents to voluntarily reduce driving by consolidating trips or using mass transit.

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